Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

Brace Yourselves: It’s IEP Season

brace_yourselvesWelcome to IEP Season!  It’s almost time for the big meeting where you sit in a conference room surrounded by school professionals and determine your child’s fate for the school year.  Overwhelmed?  Anxious?  It can be nerve-wracking sometimes.  Here are some questions I know you’re probably thinking:

  • Do they really know my child?  Is the teacher the right fit?

  • Are they going to show me an accurate picture of my child’s capabilities?

  • Will they give him the level of service that he needs?  What if they don’t?

  • Just what the hell are benchmarks, goals, and trials anyway?  And how do they take data?

  • What if they don’t listen to my concerns?  Or what if I clam up and forget?

Here are some of my recommendations:

  • First of all – BREATHE. All of these questions (and the many  more that you probably have) are all valid and important.  It helps me by bringing a notebook and writing down my questions both before and during the meeting.

  • Second, ask for a copy of the proposed IEP a few days ahead of meeting time. That gives you a chance to look it over, highlight any corrections, and get a better understanding of what the school is offering.

  • If you don’t understand all the technical terms – don’t fake it and pretend you do! If you don’t comprehend the school’s writing in the IEP, then it needs to be rewritten.  Listen, IEP’s aren’t supposed to be complicated, stereo-instruction, written-in-a-foreign-language, complicated.  Anyone should be able to understand.  Do not be afraid to ask them to rewrite anything you have a hard time understanding.

  • Look back at the previous IEP and determine if benchmarks were met. If they have not, then ask your Team to explain what’s causing the lack of progress.

  • You are the expert of your child – what goals do YOU want to see? Make sure you let the Team know what you want.  Oftentimes they are looking for new and innovative goals anyway.

  • Ask to see the data! If you don’t understand how it’s tracked, ask them to explain it.  Ask how often they take data.

  • Ask about inclusion opportunities! These are often overlooked.  Make sure you ask if your child will be going to class field trips, peer-aged outings, sports, music, art, etc.  And remember – there is a difference between INCLUSION and INSERTION.  Make sure your child is included.

  • If you run out of time allotted, schedule Part 2 of the IEP meeting. Do NOT rush.  This is your child’s academic success plan – it takes time to build!

  • Do NOT go into the IEP meeting ready to burn bridges. I have been in many meetings where it got heated, but remember folks, make sure you cross the bridge before you go and burn it.  You attract more bees with honey.

YOU are the most important member of your child’s IEP team.  Do your homework, be prepared, ask questions, and help make your child’s school year the best yet.


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This entry was posted on August 25, 2016 by in All.
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